Kidnapping Statistics

In October of 2002, the United States Department of Justice released the second annual National Incident Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children. The data from this report spanned the years 1997 to 1999. When examining non-family abduction of children, key findings from the study revealed:

  • During the study year, there was an estimated 115 stereotypical kidnappings, defined as abductions perpetrated by a stranger or slight acquaintance and involving a child who was transported 50 or more miles, detained overnight, held for ransom or with intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
  • In 40% of the stereotypical kidnappings, the child was killed, and in another 4%, the child was not recovered.
  • There were an estimated 58,200 child victims of non-family abductions, defined more broadly to include all non-family perpetrators (friends, acquaintances, strangers) and crimes involving lesser amounts of forced movement or detention in addition to the more serious crimes entailed in stereotypical kidnappings.
  • 57% of the children abducted by a non-family perpetrator were missing from caretakers for at least 1 hour, and the police were contacted to help locate 21% of the abducted children.
  • Teenage children were by far the most frequent victims of both stereotypical kidnappings and non-family abductions.
  • Nearly half of all child victims of stereotypical kidnappings and non-family abductions were sexually assaulted by the perpetrator.